The vaccine, made by Pfizer and BioNTech, prevents 98.8 percent of deaths or hospitalizations from COVID-19, said the Israeli Ministry of Health director.
The times of Israel reported that Israeli Ministry of Health’s director-general Chezy Levy said in a statement that data collected by his agency had also shown that the vaccine is 99.2 percent effective in preventing serious cases of the disease. The data analyzed by the agency only included patients who received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine, the newspaper said.
“The vaccine dramatically reduces serious illnesses and deaths,” Levy told the Times of Israel.
“Thanks to the strong Israeli health system, which has enabled us to vaccinate an unprecedented large portion of the population, and our epidemiological tracking facilities, we are the first country in the world to be able to demonstrate the effectiveness of the vaccine in the real clinical world.” Levy added.
The health minister added in Saturday’s statement that Israel would continue to attempt to vaccinate all adults over the age of 16 against the virus before proceeding with vaccines for the country’s younger population.
Israel has received praise for the rapid pace of its program, which so far has resulted in around a third of the country’s population receiving a vaccine. However, the country’s government has also been criticized for the availability of the vaccine in Palestinian territories, including the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian authorities have urged Israeli officials to increase the number of vaccines made available to millions of Palestinians in these areas.
The head of the Ministry of Health of Gaza said last week that the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines had arrived on the territory, but stressed that the 2,000 quantities made available were well below the amount required to vaccinate healthcare workers in the territory.